Holland is a region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. The country is known for a flat landscape of canals, tulip fields, windmills and cycling routes. Amsterdam, the capital, is home to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the house where Jewish diarist Anne Frank hid during WWII. Canalside mansions and a trove of works from artists including Rembrandt and Vermeer remain from the city’s 17th-century “Golden Age.”
Visa: Generally not required for stays less than 90 days (three months). U.S. citizens must have a passport valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date you plan to depart Netherlands. Some nationalities require a Schengen visa. All details about visa information can be found here.
Currency: Euro (€)
Credit Cards and Banks: Credit cards accepted in most restaurants, shops, and hotels. Non-European credit cards are sometimes rejected. We suggest carrying a MasterCard with a chip. ATMs widely available. Be sure to carry plenty of cash for small purchases, bars, clubs, events and public transportation.
Currency Exchange: There are multiple exchanges at Schipol airport, but always ask about the rates and fees. From our experience, the exchange right after you pick up your luggage and exit the arrival halls is the best. This exchange does not charge fees if you exchange a certain amount of money. If you know you will be traveling through Europe for a while, go ahead and get your money here. Plus, it is convenient!
Tipping: The Dutch do tip, but modestly.
Electricity: Type C two-prong
Staying Connected: We suggest picking up your SIM card at Schiphol airport. The stall we purchase from is outside the arrival halls and baggage claim. You won’t miss it. This way you are connected from the beginning of your trip. Lycamobile is the service provider we use. It will cost you between 30 and 40 USD, but well worth it!
WIFI is available in most hotels, restaurants, and many public spaces; however it is much more convenient to just get the SIM card.
Transportation: Public transportation is excellent and easy to use throughout Holland. Rail, bus, ferry, taxis, and Uber are all reliable sources of public transport. Walking and cycling in cities like Amsterdam are always an option too!
Language: Dutch is the official language, but nearly everyone speaks English.
Grocery Stores: Albert Heijn is one of the major grocery stores you will find in Amsterdam. The logo is AH in blue lettering. This is where you can pick up pretty much anything you may need food and drink wise. We suggest picking up bottled water and snacks here. For health nuts, you can find prepared healthy meals like quinoa bowls here. For budget travelers, this is your best bet in terms of food.
Things to remember: The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in Europe, but you should still use big-city street sense in larger cities. Bicycle theft is common; always use two locks. Bicycles can be quite a challenge to pedestrians. Remember when crossing the street to look for speeding bikes as well as cars; straying into a bike lane without looking both ways can cause serious accidents. When cycling yourself, take care with skidding on tram tracks or getting your wheels caught.
You can visit Amsterdam year round, but the winter months may prevent some people from walking or cycling around the city. There’s no bad time visit, but in general, April through October is the main travel season, when the weather is the best. Our experience with Amsterdam weather is that it can be sunny one day and rainy the next. Be prepared to brave the elements regardless. Umbrellas are not normally used because it is typically also windy. We’d suggest bringing a jacket/raincoat with a hood.
Cold and rainy season: November to March
Warm season: June to September
High travel season (April–Aug)
- Everything is open.
- Your best odds of balmy weather to enjoy a café terrace or a countryside bike ride.
- Crowds fill the famous museums.
- Prices peak, book ahead.
Low Season (Nov–Mar)
- Many sights outside major cities close.
- It may just be you and a masterpiece at a famous museum.
- Weather can be chilly and/or snowy, biking is only for the hardy.
- Deals abound.
Practical, minimal, and black sums up Dutch style. No need to worry about what you’re wearing in this city. People are pretty chill. Women tend to gravitate towards practical over anything. If you wish to look like a local, we’d suggest jeans, a black t-shirt, a jacket, and practical walking shoes or sneakers. Going out, we’d suggest the same! You can pack light when traveling to Amsterdam. Obviously, if you feel like dressing things up, go for it. Just no need to over do it if you really don’t need to. You can always buy clothes here. There are plenty of cool shops to peruse, so we suggest pack light and purchase something if you feel out of place.
Most important items:
A jacket – you never know when it might rain or be chilly!
Solid walking shoes – tennis shoes or sneakers.
We will post our trip here… we leave October 16 and return on the 24!